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Cooper Kupp: The Contender Asset

Cooper Kupp has been overlooked his entire career. As we head into the 2023 season, @coachstevenp dives into why Kupp is an asset for a contending fantasy team.

Age has not been a benefit for Cooper Kupp over this dynasty career. After joining the NFL as an older prospect, Kupp worked his way with the Rams to build his dynasty success. It also seems that Kupp was never considered a young elite talent for dynasty but rather an older prospect you look to sell high. This article will dive into Kupp’s fantasy history and what success he can find in 2023 that a contending fantasy owner may want to buy into for the season.

Recent Fantasy History

Early Years

During Kupp’s first four years, he was an underrated dynasty receiver as he came into the league at 24. He posted 313 targets while catching 226, a 72.2% catch rate. He produced 2,700 receiving yards and scored 19 touchdowns in his early days. He produced all of that with Jared Goff, who may have criticized him for being a mediocre quarterback in the league in his early career.

During Kupp’s early years, the Rams were a run-first team led by the great Todd Gurley. Kupp also had Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, and Tyler Higbee all fighting for targets at some point during his first four seasons. He still managed two seasons of over 120 targets and three seasons of over 850 receiving yards. Kupp was a solid player who always seemed overlooked in the dynasty. Early on, injuries and the fact he was a slot receiver seem to lack confidence in his ability to be great. Even in 2018, he posted 1,164 yards and ten touchdowns. The hype for Kupp never seems to be there.

The Emergence

In 2021, Kupp received a gift from the team after trading for Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford in a trade. Not many expect Kupp to dominate the fantasy season; Robert Woods was getting more love. Kupp would go for 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while receiving a whooping 191 targets during the season. Kupp would finish first in targets, target shares, red zone targets, receptions, receiving yards, total touchdowns, yards after the catch, and many more categories. Kupp was an elite fantasy player, producing 10 of his 17 games over 20 fantasy points. Unfortunately, he didn’t put up these elite numbers as a 24 or 25-year-old player but as an already 28-year-old player.

Last season, Kupp continued his elite production, seeing five of his eight games over 100 yards. He was WR3 for the first half of the season, even with playing with poor Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, Kupp suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss the rest of the season and was shut down to the Rams already having a losing season. Kupp was so amazing he still managed to finish WR24 among receivers while only playing eight total games. Kupp was on pace for another 1,600-yard season and double-digit touchdowns. The good thing is that Kupp isn’t coming into the new season with a significant season-ending injury on his hands.

What’s New for 2023 

There aren’t too many new things for Kupp in 2023 that will make his game better than it has been. Health and age are important for Kupp’s 2023 fantasy success. Kupp will be 30, and injuries can come more frequently to older players. Thankfully, he only suffered a high ankle sprain last year, so he should be coming in 2023 healthy. The health of Stafford will be somewhat significant. We saw Kupp thrive with a very bad Stafford, but he also missed time and is still recovering. Kupp should be successful no matter who is at quarterback, but a healthy Stafford would benefit.

You can take this as a good or bad thing, but Kupp now has the lesser talent to steal targets away from him. The Ram’s number two receiver, either Van Jefferson or Ben Skowronek, is still unknown. Yes, Tyler Higbee will be likey the number two pass catcher, but you shouldn’t be afraid of him taking away targets from Kupp. Cam Akers isn’t a threat in the passing game but could help keep the defenses on their feet if he runs as he did at the end of 2022. Kupp still has Sean McVay to run the offense, which will also benefit substantially. The Rams are adding in Mike LaFleur, who will better balance McVay’s passion in the offense.

Dynasty Trade Values 

  • 2024 1st for Cooper Kupp
  • 2024 3rd & Drake London for 2024 2nd and Cooper Kupp
  • 2024 1st, 2025 1st & Jayden Reed for Cooper Kupp & 2024 3rd
  • Jahan Dotson & Zay Flowers for 2024 2nd and Cooper Kupp

Here are some recent dynasty trades on the Dynasty Nerds GM 2.0! As a contender, I’d be looking to ship off a 2024 first for Kupp’s 2023 services. You make this trade if you believe you are a contender. The second trade involving Drake London is interesting, as you can make a case of getting rid of London with the question marks on the offense. This one, I think, is pretty even overall for both sides. Kupp has a high chance than London to be a WR1 for fantasy in 2023. For the third trade, I like getting that haul for Kupp for a rebuilding team. I feel giving up all that for Kupp is bad value at this point of the offseason. I like the last trade for a contender wanting to get Kupp on the team. Granted, I am a fan of Dotson heading into 2023, but Kupp’s elite upside beats out Dotson and Zay Flowers for a contending team.

Final Thoughts

To a rebuilding team, getting Kupp isn’t a player you want long-term due to his health and age. Unless you can get him below his value, then flip him at a higher price during the season. As a contending team, Kupp should be an off-season priority because he can help you get over the top to help win a championship. Kupp is hitting 30 years old before the season, and we know that most 30-year-old receivers don’t continue performing at an elite level. Kupp came into the league a bit older, so he has the talent to push the odds and give us a few more years of elite production. He is a lower WR2 in the dynasty but has WR1 upside as long as he is healthy each season of the next two years.

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, a buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast too. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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